Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The nice thing about growing perennial flowers is there’s no need to buy seeds or starts every year.  If they are happy in their location they somehow know when to appear in the spring and pretty much take care of themselves through the growing season.

The bad thing is a gardener needs to know what the baby perennials look like so there won’t be a massacre during the first few weedings in the spring.

For two years I tried without success to grow coneflowers in my garden from seed.

Then I saw young coneflower plants in a garden nursery and had a head-slap dufus moment.

This is a coneflower seedling.

This is the seedling of plantain (not the banana).

It is either a noxious weed or a useful herb depending on who looks at it.  I realized I had been ripping out all my baby coneflowers, mistaking them for weeds.

I may have also thought the young coneflowers were bindweed, the bane of gardeners everywhere.

This is baby bindweed.

This is a handful of adult bindweeds I pulled from my garden last fall.  These malevolent plants steal into gardens, send roots all the way to bedrock and then proceed to choke the life out of anything that will hold still long enough for them to strangle.   

My infant coneflowers didn’t have a chance against these masters of mimicry.

 The next year I transplanted my coneflowers to my garden after they were big enough to be recognized for what they were.

This spring I weeded my flower bed and then realized I couldn’t see any seedlings for my baby’s breath a.k.a. gypsophila.

This is young baby’s breath.

This is a noxious and sneaky plant called prostrate knotweed.  Once again I’d annihilated my flowers in my zeal to kill the weeds.

So now I’ve planted more baby’s breath in a flower pot.  
Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be so diligent in the early execution of weeds. 

Here is a fun post by Eliza Cross at Happy Simple Living with Seven Ways to Politely Discourage Bindweed in Your Garden.


Unknown said...

Imposters!!! Needlessly killing our sweet baby flowers! The carnage! (Sob) I have no doubt that you will be forgiven and both your green thumbs will overcome! At least your dirt grows SOMETHING!

Alica said...

I grow almost all perennials...and I still have trouble recognizing the seedlings sometimes. I got a little "round-up happy" and got too close to some little guys. Oops!

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh I am a terrible weeder pulling flowers and keeping weeds sadly I never learn. Good luck:) Hug B

Joanne Noragon said...

It sure is a perennial problem :-)
My master plan is enough perennials to choke out the weeds.

Carla said...

Luckily, I know my coneflower babies by the fact that their seedlings are slightly rough/sandpapery.
HATE bindweed!!
I'm looking forward to reading the post about them.

Val said...

Note-to-self: Don't ask Leenie to throw out the baby's bathwater.

Sarah said...

Interesting! it is not always easy to recognise young plants. There are certain ones like sunflowers that are easy. There is something that keeps popping up in our nursery garden and I think it looks like Japanese knotweed which is awful so I keep pulling it out. I should research it so I know for sure!

Terry and Linda said...

The hardest lesson I had to learn way back when I was helping my parents...if you don't know don't pull.


jeanie said...

That is my excuse for not weeding too soon in the self-seeded patches.